Monday, October 26, 2009

DVD Picks of the Week: October 20, 2009

Habitually late again, let's cut to the chase.

The William Castle Film Collection [DVD]

A great new box set was just released featuring some of the great and gimmicky horror filmmaker William Castle. Best known for The House on Haunted Hill, Castle made a living off of inserting numerous gimmicks into his B-movie's theatrical experiences to bring in the crowds. Examples of such are buzzers that would "shock" the audience during certain parts of the film and a 3D-esque piece of viewing equipment to help audience members spot the ghosts in the film. All very campy, all very goofy and all very much lost in the recent commercialism of film. This Castle set looks very nice but is a bit too pricey for me at this point. I'll hold off just a bit. The set includes the following films: 13 Frightened Girls, 13 Ghosts, Homicidal, Strait-Jacket, The Old Dark House, Mr. Sardonicu, The Tingler, Zotz! Check out the video below for an example of Castle's gimmicks.

Monsoon Wedding

More Criterion this week in the form of Mira Nair's 2001 film Monsoon Wedding. Nair just saw the release of her latest film, Amelia, into cinemas and this release completes her busy week. Nair also directed the beautiful and touching 1988 film Salaam Bombay!, a terrific expose of being young and without family in Bombay. It's certainly nice to see more female filmmakers get a few nods of respect. Wouldn't it be sweet if Kathyrn Bigelow's latest masterpiece The Hurt Locker was given the Criterion treatment?

Spaghetti Western Bible Presents: The Fast, the Saved & the Damned [DVD]

Let's forget for a second that the cover art of this new release of old spaghetti western films is a ripoff of the packaging of the Sergio Leone collection released awhile back. A few Spaghetti Western Bibles have been released already. There's been Sartana Saga: Spaghettie Western Bible 2 and Grindhouse Experience Presents: Spaghetti Bible. And even though the quality of these prints and transfers are sometimes lousy, fans of the genre have still got to love these types of genre compilations. A lot of these films would probably never see a remastered single release in a million years, so it's nice to get them somehow. I have a few similar sets for the film noir and exploitation genres and they're more than acceptable for extra viewing. Includes in this collection are the following films:

- Blindman (1971) Ferdinando Baldi
- Minnesota Clay (1965) Sergio Corbucci
- 7 Dollars on the Red (1966) Alberto Cardone
- Massacre Time (1966) Lucio Fulci
- Price of Power, The (1970) Tonino Valerii
- Beast, The (1970) Mario Costa
- They Call Him Cemetery (1971) Giuliano Carnimeo
- Bounty Killer (1972) Angelo Pannacciò
- One Dollar Too Many (1968) Enzo G. Castellari
- Apocalypse Joe (1971) Leopoldo Savona

Don't look for much greatness, but there are a few good names in there. For example, Lucio Fulci, who made a few off the beaten path westerns and adventure films went on to become one of Italy's most accomplished horror filmmakers before eventually becoming labeled as one of the godfathers of gore. Enzo G. Castellari directed the original The Inglorious Bastards. Fans of the genre should want to check this collection out.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [DVD][Blu-ray]

I skipped on seeing this in theaters and am in no rush to check it out. But I figured there might be a few of you out there you love your Transformers. Don't get me wrong here, I don't have anything against the Autobots or whatever they're called. I just have things against Michael Bay. I don't care how many times you blow things up, it doesn't mean your film won't be excruciatingly painful to watch.

Jethro Tull: Live at Madison Square Garden - 1978 [DVD]

Biased, yes, because I love me some Jethro Tull. But you should too. Or at least try to. Ian Anderson made the flute look badass and did it while turning Jethro Tull into one of the giants of the progressive rock genre. They've left their mark and continue to play as a band to this day. This set has both a DVD of the show and a CD to go along with it for maximum Tull value. "Thick as a Brick", "Aqualung" and "Locomotive Breath"? Count me in.

What else comes out this week: Blood: The Last Vampire, Peanuts: 1970's Collection, Vol. 1, Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead, Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Those Aren't Pillows Edition), Black Adder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition, Easy Rider [Blu-ray], The Tournament, Sherlock Holmes: The Archive Collection, Escaflowne: The Movie [Blu-ray], Fados, Black Rain, 100 Feet [Blu-ray], The Crew, They Killed Sister Dorothy, P, Last of the Living.

What to stay away from: Personally, I already said I'm staying away from the latest Transformers film. If you don't want to stay away from that, I'll suggest keeping far from 2012: Supernova. Just wait for Roland Emmerich's ridiculous film for your end of the world fix.

So long.

No comments: